Posted on: 08 June 2024

Displays tell story of town's 165-year waterwheel history

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Sherborne Steam & Waterwheel Centre

Displays have been unveiled at a 19th-century pumping station, telling the story of a town's water supply.

Volunteers have spent 25 years restoring the 26ft-wide (7m) waterwheel at Sherborne Steam and Waterwheel Centre in Dorset.

The interpretation project aims to make the story of the site in Oborne Road more accessible for visitors.

The revamped exhibition was opened by former BBC correspondent Kate Adie at the centre's June open day.

Castleton Pumping Station has supplied water to Sherborne continuously since 1859.

The first waterwheel was replaced in 1898 after being destroyed by floods but since 1959 it had been left to decay.

In 1981, a group of enthusiasts set up the Castleton Waterwheel Society, which raised £60,000 to restore the wheel, which has been running on open days since 2008.

A working steam engine similar to one installed at the pumping station in 1876 has also been part of the centre since 2012.

The new permanent displays were designed by Smith & Jones Design Consultants of Bristol and funded by Dorset Council, with support provided by the museums advisor for BCP and Dorset Councils.

Paul Belliss, chairman of the centre, said they explained the "part played by Castleton Pumping Station in the story of water in Sherborne".

He said the centre's future plans would focus on enhancing community links, tourism and educational projects with local schools.

The waterwheel centre holds eight open days a year.


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